Urban Warriors Program on “American Graduate” Live National Broadcast

October 03, 2016


The YMCA of Metro Chicago's innovative violence cessation program Urban Warriors, which pairs veterans with youth, was featured on the American Graduate Day live broadcast on Saturday, Sept. 17."

On Saturday, Sept. 17, the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Urban Warriors program was featured on American Graduate Day, the culminating event of PBS’s annual Spotlight Education week, as an example of the power of youth mentorship.

Urban Warriors is an innovative 16-week mentorship program that brings together at-risk youth and post-9/11 military veterans. The program was founded by Eddie Bocanegra, executive director of the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative. Participants meet weekly to discuss topics related to trauma, violence, and the responsibilities of manhood.

Urban Warriors mentor U.S. Marine Corps veteran Joey Azim, and his mentee, Cesar Torres, 17, spoke with NBC News education correspondent Rehema Ellis about their experiences with violence, trauma, hope, and brotherhood.

You can watch the entire broadcast here. Joey and Cesar speak with Rehima Ellis about two and a half hours into the program.

Urban Warriors is generously supported by Allstate Insurance Company, the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, the Boeing Company, BMO Harris Bank, Chicago Bulls Charities, the Leo S. Guthman Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Nurmi Family Foundation, Michael Reese Health Trust, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.